The Middlesex-London Health Unit confirmed Thursday that it was expanding eligibility for re-booking appointments for the COVID-19 vaccine to include anyone who received their first dose on or before May 30.
Previously, second-dose appointment re-booking was only available to those who received their first dose on or before May 9, anyone over 70, and other select individuals.
“That’s a huge new group, about three more weeks’ worth of first doses from May 9 to May 30. Those folks are all now eligible to book their second doses,” medical officer of health Dr. Chris Mackie confirmed Thursday.
“Between May 9 and May 30, we vaccinated something in the range of 75,000 to 80,000 people, so that’s a large new population.”
However, the health unit stressed that second-dose appointments must be booked at least 28 days following the first dose. Mackie stressed that if someone books an appointment less than 28 days after their first dose, they will be turned away.
As well, anyone who received a first dose of the AstraZeneca vaccine will still have to wait at least eight weeks after the shot before they can receive a second dose of vaccine.
The province previously stated that all Ontario residents aged 18 and older who got a first dose of Pfizer or Moderna will be eligible to book a second shot through the provincial booking system starting the week of June 28.
Mackie says the MLHU is hoping to align closely with that timeline.
“It really depends how the next few days’ worth of appointments, how they go,” he explained.
“If we run out of appointments by Monday — which is entirely possible when you’ve got 80,000 people re-booking into 43,000 new spots — then it will be difficult to open any further. And we could do it on paper, but it wouldn’t be really meaningful because the appointments wouldn’t be there.”
Shortened interval second-dose appointments can be booked online, with new appointment slots becoming available daily at 8 a.m., through Gate #4 in most cases. Those who did not receive their first dose at one of the MLHU’s clinics are asked to enter Gate #5, “I received my first dose elsewhere and now need to book a second dose.”
Appointments can also be made over the phone at 226-289-3560 daily between 8 a.m. and 7:30 p.m.
More information about booking or cancelling appointments as well as vaccine eligibility can be found on the health unit’s website.
–With files from Global News’ Gabby Rodrigues.View link »